Malaria Essay

Malaria Essay

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Malaria is regarded as one of the world's deadliest tropical parasitic diseases. It claims more lives than any other communicable disease except tuberculosis. In Africa and other developing countries, it also accounts for millions of dollars in medical costs. Malaria, however, is a curable disease if promptly diagnosed and adequately treated.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the parasite plasmodium. In recent years, most cases in the U.S. have been in people who have acquired the disease after travelling to tropical and sub-tropical areas. Over 200 million cases worldwide are reported each year.
Estimates of deaths caused by malaria exceed 1 million each year, with the majority being African children. Other groups at risk include pregnant women, foreign travelers, refugees, and laborers entering endemic areas. Malaria is prevalent in over 100 countries around the world, the most of which located in Africa and South America.

Predominance of Malaria
Today, malaria is a public health problem in more than 90 countries. Worldwide prevalence of the disease is estimated to be over 200 million cases each year. More than 90% of all malaria cases arise from sub-Saharan Africa.
The geographical area affected by malaria has shrunk considerably in the past 50 years. Yet measures to control this epidemic are becoming less and less effective. Increased risk of the disease is linked with expansion projects in undeveloped areas, particularly in the Amazon basin and in Southeast Asia.
The rise of malaria is also linked to factors such as global warming, poor health services, political upheavals and armed conflicts. Other causes of this spread include growing resistance of the parasites that cause the disease to new drugs. And with the growing popularity international travel, malaria is now showing up in developed countries. It is also re-emerging in areas where it has previously been under eradicated.

Symptoms
Symptoms of malaria vary depending on the specific type of parasite involved. These symptoms include high fever, chills, sweats, vomiting, and headaches. This would explain why malaria is often misdiagnosed as the flu.
In severe cases the illness can progress to lethargy, respiratory failure, coma and death. If left untreated, the symptoms may persist for weeks or even months. With some types of malaria, relapses may occur for years after treatment.
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... infection from mosquitoes. Health departments assist travelers in determining what precautions are needed.


Drug and Vaccine Development
Drugs designed to treat malaria are available on a very limited basis. Because of increasing resistance to drugs in many parts of the world, adequate treatment of malaria is becoming increasingly difficult. Although a few new drugs have appeared in the last 20 years, they are not economically available to many people who need them.
In the last decade, considerable progress has been made in the search for a malaria vaccine. An effective vaccine would create a powerful addition to malaria control. More than a dozen candidate vaccines are currently in development, some of them in clinical trial. The hope is that an effective vaccine will be available within the next 7-15 years.















REFERENCES

A bibliography on the behavioral, social, and economic aspects of malaria and its control. c1978. World Health Organization. Geneva, Switzerland.

(April 2000). Malaria Foundation International. [On-line]. Available: http://www.malaria.org/

(April 2000). Travel health online. [On-line]. Available: http://www.tripprep.com/travinfo/timala.html




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